3 Arrests at Texas Drag Show Protest


Three people were arrested Sunday after an incident broke out between a group of protesters and counter-protesters outside a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas.

The incident happened outside of Fort Brewery and Pizza, where a drag event was scheduled to take place.

A small group from Protect Texas Kids, an anti-LGBTQ+ organization that protested drag events in the past gathered across the street to protest during the event. Meanwhile, counter-protesters faced the establishment dressed in black and wearing helmets and tactical vests. Many of the counter-demonstrators were armed with handguns and long guns, police said called.

At around 12:50 p.m., one of the counter-protesters, later identified as Samuel Fowlkes, 20, pepper-sprayed protesters from the Protect Texas Kids group Fort Worth Police Department.

Officers attempted to arrest Fowlkes for the assault, but Fowlkes swung his fists at officers, police reported. Another counter-protester, later identified as Christopher Guillott, 33, reportedly tried to intervene by brandishing an umbrella at officers and was arrested after allegedly hitting an officer in the face with it.

Police said both Fowlkes and Guillott resisted arrest. A third counter-protester, identified as Meghan Grant, 37, rushed past officers to get to Guillott and Fowlkes, police said, adding that Grant failed to meet officers when they tried to push her onto the sidewalk, and was taken into custody.

“The Fort Worth Police Department respects the constitutional rights of everyone to freedom of expression and assembly. Our primary goal at any protest event is to create a safe environment that respects the constitutional rights of all participants while effectively maintaining public law and order,” the department said in a opinion. “Those who choose to break the law and attack others will be arrested and charged.”

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Drag shows and LGBTQ+ spaces across the US have faced a wave of targeted attacks from far-right and anti-LGBTQ+ groups over the past year. White racist groups have disrupted multiple drag events in cities across the countryincluding in Wadsworth, Ohio, Last month. The attacks follow on the heels of the fatal shooting at Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November, which left five dead and several others injured.

According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the three arrested were members of the Elm Fork John Brown Club, an organization that describes itself on Twitter as “helping marginalized communities organize community defense against white supremacist/fascism.” Both the Elm Fork John Brown Club and Protect Texas Kids have been involved in several drag-related protests across the Dallas-Fort Worth area and attended with armed participants, the newspaper reported.

It is unclear if the unarrested counter-protesters were also part of the Elm Fork John Brown Club.

The altercation between the anti-drag show group and LGBTQ+ supporters, as well as the arrests, were caught by a city camera and police body camera footage released on Monday.

In the Body camera footage, Fowlkes is seen walking away from officers as they approach him. The officers try to arrest him and Guillott tries to interfere. People in the background shout for the police to stop.

“Don’t reach for that gun,” one of the officers said after pinning Fowlkes. “You will be shot if you reach for this gun.”

According to police, Fowlkes faces four counts of assault, one count of evading arrest and detention, one count of resisting arrest and one count of assaulting a peace officer. Guillott faces charges of assaulting a peace officer and interfering with public duty. Grant faces one count of resisting arrest and one count of interference with public duty.

All three are being held on bail, ABC News reports.

The Texas Senate passed Invoices limiting drag services around kids a few weeks ago. According to the Texas GrandstandAs of June 2022, there have been more than two dozen anti-drag incidents in the state.

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